Wildlife Conservation Gala
Wild time: Zoo gala raises $1 million to save endangered rhinos
Once, hundreds of thousands of rhinoceroses roamed Africa. Today, scientists estimate that less than 30,000 of the magnificent mammals are left in the world. Leave it to the Houston Zoo to gather supporters together to raise funds for rhinoceros conservation efforts in the wild.
Gala chairs Nancy and David Pustka and Randa and K. C. Weiner hosted over 600 guests at the ninth annual Feed Your Wildlife Conservation Gala, which took place on the zoo grounds.Themed appropriately enough, “Saving Rhinos – Stories from Africa,” the special event honored former Houston Zoo director and the 2016 World Association of Zoos and Aquariums Heini Hediger award winner Rick Barongi, along with longtime Houston Zoo supporter Donald Kendall.
Proceeds, which topped one million dollars, will go to three causes: organizations that employ local people to guard rhinoceros in the wild, incentive programs that increase support for villages where rhinoceros populations are protected, and educational outreach.
Animal lovers in the crowd included Raoul du Toit and Natasha Anderson of the Lowveld Rhino Trust, Jeff Muntifering of Nambia’s Black Rhino Trust, event keynote speaker Joel Sartore, Betsy Garlinger, Holly and Austin Alvis, Sybil Roos, Diane Ledder, Jane Block, Sean and Audra McNicholas, and Natasha Anderson.